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#Location: Indian film fund to invest $20 million in British co-productions

It may not be the multi-billion dollar contract to build an economic corridor linking major Mumbai and Bangalore but it is something.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, on a trade visit to India, on Tuesday announced that a leading Indian film financier will invest $20 million in the UK in a further sign of the importance of Britain as a key market for the Indian film industry.

Mumbai-based Vistaar Religare Film Fund will invest in a new Manchester-based post-production facility which will become a hub for filmmakers from India using the UK as a location.

Mr Clegg made the announcement as he launched the Vistaar’s latest film production ‘Veda’ at the iconic Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai, the second stop in the Deputy Prime Minister’s three-day visit to India.

The film, appropriately enough, is an Indian adaptation of the Shakespearean tragedy ‘Hamlet’ and will be filmed and produced both in the UK and India for an autumn 2015 release.

Vistaar is also investing in a new biopic of Indian cinema icon Guru Dutt, which will be partially shot in the UK.

Mr Clegg said: “As we have seen with American co-productions on a grand scale, Britain is one of the world’s top destinations for film makers.  I hope Indian producers will follow their counterparts in the US and take advantage of the UK’s facilities, expertise and glorious locations to create the next Indian Star Wars or Game of Thrones.”

Officials for Vistaar said the company would also be working with London-based film advisory firm Goldfinch Pictures to develop further projects in Britain.

Vistaar Managing Director Sheetal Talwar said: “We feel that our British investments shall give us opportunity to grow the business and help us achieve market leadership in our sector of socially responsible cinema”

While Britain has long been  a popular location for Bollywood filmmakers over the past three decades, there has been a surge in the number of films that have used UK locations, particularly the capital London.

Among the most high-profile recent productions was Salman Khan’s mega-blockbuster ‘Kick’.

Saif Ali Khan recently used several London locations for his $40 million counter-terrorism thriller ‘Phantom’. 

Bollywood studios regularly use London for major promotional events as well as world premiers.  It’s not all about mainstream Bollywood either.  London is home to not one but two of the world’s biggest Indian independent film festivals.

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